Response to letter sent by Cllr English
Dear Councillor English
Further to my email to you of 26 September, please find below our responses (in italics) to your questions. This has been prepared in liaison with Paul Broggi, Property, Estates and Facilities Manager and Nat Slade, Group Head of Technical Services.
Can I please take this opportunity to request a short extension of time with respect to your request for all correspondence in this matter (1) and (10). This is currently being actioned but, as I am sure you can appreciate, has involved a voluminous amount of documents from a variety of different sources. I would hope to have this information to you by w.e. 18 October 2019 and would much appreciate your continued patience in this regard.
1. I want to know on what date was the fence concept first conceived. What officers were present? All correspondence please.
I am afraid I cannot recall when this idea was first conceived and it would certainly not have been formally recorded. This was an operational matter and our response to the issue would have been discussed in the team ahead of arriving at a solution, for which I take responsibility as Manager. One thing I do categorically recall with absolute clarity is that the sole and prime purpose of the proposed fence installation located to the back of the sea wall was to afford this small area of grass better control against the considerable dog fouling issue that was indisputably present.
The fence installation was carried out solely in reaction to the identified and excessive dog fouling issues in this location.
With your agreement, the results of searches for correspondence will be provided under separate cover as noted above.
2. Who was the lead officer and when was it discussed with any senior officer or cabinet member or Councillor or resident. Name them at any time prior to installation?
The Lead Officer was myself Paul Broggi, Property, Estates and Facilities Manager. This installation was not discussed with CMT or any Member ahead of installation as this was an operational matter and so was ordered and authorised under delegated authority.
3. Please confirm that a full independent report has been carried out within the use of the area for wheelchair, disability and children laws for full and unfettered access, especially in regards to the highly sprung gates.
There is no formal requirement for a “full independent report” as referred above. The installation complies with BS8300-1:2018 which specifically deals with the design of an accessible and inclusive built environment.
4. When was the fence put in and completed?
I do not hold formal record of the exact date but from enquiries within the team I believe the work was carried out circa 8 April 2019 and it would have taken circa 3 days to complete.
5. Exactly how many prosecutions have taken place on this part of the green sward. Proof must be supplied to show over what period of time. What made this an area worse than any other in the whole of Arun? The main argument for the installation appears to be this quoted reason.
No prosecutions. The fence was erected in order to reduce the dog fouling which has been a particular long term issue at this location, despite the use of targeted enforcement patrols in this area. The erection of the fence is part of a package of measures to reduce dog fouling in this area including a publicity campaign.
The campaign we have been running over the summer in partnership with Southern Water and Spirit FM aims to try and educate all of us in the various ways we can support the cleanliness of our local beaches. This has included additional enforcement and education patrols along the seafront from Middleton to Aldwick including the Greensward area. Dog fouling offences are notoriously difficult to witness to obtain the necessary evidence.
6. What was the total cost of the fence including officer time and labour.
The total fencing material cost was £8617.97 .The works were completed using in-house labour and we would have encountered some minor material incidental cost also. I do not possess any record of the labour or minor materials incidental costs for this installation.
7. Where were the finances obtained from and what written authority was given for the spend to take place and by whom?
The works were funded via the capital asset management budget and these were ordered and expended by Property & Estates in accordance with delegated authority for operational estate matters. As Property, Estates & Facilities Manager I am responsible for this decision.
8. Who decided for the date of the works to occur and was purdah taken into account. After all, much was made on what could not occur in the press.
Works orders were placed when the need arose as per normal practice. From a P & E position there was no discussion regarding Purdah as this was an operational matter and so this would not have been relevant. This work was delivered along with the great many other planned and reactive operational maintenance works that Property , Estates and Facilities deliver across the wider Council estate. Operational works would not cease as a result of Purdah.
9. What was the reasoning for the officer not to discuss this with any elected councillors of Felpham in East and West Ward on conception of the project?
Who was his senior to review his decision to spend over £8617.97 without any discussion or oversite?
This was treated as an operational matter as referred to above. Installation of this fencing, given that the east and west fencing elevations already existed in this location, would not have been treated as a specific “project” as this was considered a small minor operational maintenance item (as such this was dealt with our reactive maintenance team). When set against the budget P & E control which sits at £2.5 million in 2019/20 it is clear that this work item was minor in scope and nature and was certainly not a “major project”. It would clearly be impractical and unnecessary to consult on every item of work that takes place on the Council’s estate and so officers take a view as to what matters will be of Member or wider interest. On this occasion the level of public interest has been underestimated, and with the benefit of hindsight, as we have already acknowledged, we should have undertaken consultation with Ward Members and Felpham Parish Council in relation to this fence. The experience obtained from this location will inform future judgment as to when and on what matters consultation should take place in the future.
10. Please provide all email and computer notes and correspondence or anything hand written that is / was connected in any way to the fence to and from any Councillor, cabinet member, officer or resident. Up to and past 19/09/2019
With your agreement, the results of searches for records will be provided separately as this is a time intensive process as noted above.
11. Was no consultation made because it was odds on that the public would have been against this action? Trying not to be cynical, I can see no other reason for no consultation!
What action has been put in place to ensure this never occurs again?
See answer to Q9 above.
Very Importantly will this area still be open for use by groups and organizations to use as in the past like Fun on the Prom or is it the officers’ intention to maintain it as a closed private area and restrict community use?
The use of this area remains as it always has done and this has never changed and signage is erected to confirm this as a public area. From my perspective as the Officer that made the decision to install and the service that ordered and managed its installation it has never been any officers intention to maintain this area as a closed private area as stated above. It must be accepted that the area under discussion here is generally very small in size being long and narrow. Events can and do occur on this land and this would be arranged and managed via the Council’s events procedure. It would however be expected that customers’ use of the beach huts would not be unreasonably compromised by any such events and this aspect would be managed via the application procedure in order to reasonably avoid any conflict.
As requested, I look forward to hearing from you in due course confirming your agreement to the short delay in providing you with the requested documentation.
on behalf of
Group Head of Technical Services
Response to request by Cllr Barker
Dear Ms Barker
Thank you for your Information Request received on 23 September 2019 via the Chief Executive’s Office. We also note your complaint of 28 October 2019. Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding, this was because your request involved seeking information from a number of service departments. Our response is set out below:
with identification as to how many of those asked to participate were Felpham residents.
iii. facilities within the Arun District (and especially Felpham Parish)
A Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
i., The Planning department has records of complaints from two sources, there is no recording of telephone enquiries or informal complaints, and there has been no other contact on this matter.
2 Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
iii. Not Applicable
We appreciate we do not hold the specific information you are seeking. Therefore, if you have further questions about the background to this decision, we would suggest you contact Mr N Slade at firstname.lastname@example.org
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS SENT TO ARUN DISTRICT COUNCIL RE: THE ERECTION OF METAL RAILINGS AROUND THE WESTERN GREENSWARD ON FELPHAM SEA FRONT
Dear Mr Wickens
Thank you for your Information Request received on 11 April 2019.
Freedom Of Information request with regard to the installation of railings around the Greensward on the Promenade, Felpham.
I would be grateful if you could advise/respond to the following with regard to the above:
Installation was carried out by Arun District Council directly employed labour force and as such their time is not costed to each specific job completed and so we are unable to report on this aspect.
16th May 2019
Mr N Lynn 16th May 2019
Arun District Council
Dear Mr Lynn,
Re: Railings installed at Western Greensward of Felpham Promenade, Felpham.
Further to this Council’s FOI request made to ADC, on the above and the response received to the questions raised, I have been requested to now write to you, on this issue.
Felpham Parish Council would now wish to formally request the removal of the railings from the above site for the following reasons:-
Richard Wickens – Clerk to Felpham Parish Council
RESPONSE: 17th June 2019
Dear Mr Wickens,
Thank you for your email of the 16th May in respect of the above addressed to the Chief Executive. He has asked me to respond on his behalf. Apologies that you have not received an earlier response.
Whilst, this Council notes your Councils view regarding the railings and your request that the railing be removed I can confirm that it is not this Councils intention to remove the railings. We have acknowledged that we could have done better in terms on our engagement to advise what we intended to do. This is something we have reflected up for the future. However, the railings are there now and we do not propose to remove them. We will be looking to improve the signage to make it clearer where the gates.
e-mail sent the Leader of Arun District Council on 14th October 2019
Dear Councillor Dr James Walsh, Leader of Arun District Council,
Re-Railings installed on Western Greensward, Felpham Promenade.
Further to a resolution made at Felpham Parish Council I have been requested to write to you with regard to the above.
The Parish Council have written to officers the District Council on numerous occasions with regard to the above. The responses received thus far, whilst clarifying some of the issues raised, has not
we believe answered all of the questions raised, with many responses “fudging around” what are considered to be important issues to both ourselves and our residents.
In this respect and not having received acceptable clarification from the District Council (despite several requests) on whether or not the railings and access and egress from the greensward are DDA compliant (either by confirmation of Accreditation or Certification confirming such compliance) we would now request that the railings be remove forthwith as they (until such time as the public and Parish Council are convinced that DDA compliance or accessibility has been given) do not conform with the relevant legislation and do not achieve what they were supposedly erected for in the first place i.e. the reduction/removal of dog faeces (dogs are still allowed within the railings).
On a further point, with regard to DDA, the Chief Executive has advised us that he believes that a DDA risk assessment is not required. As far as we are aware no disabled wheelchair persons have been requested to check the site to ascertain ease of access /egress or otherwise.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards and yours faithfully,
Richard Wickens – Clerk to Felpham Parish Council
Response received on 5th November 2019 by Felpham Parish Council to e-mail sent to the Leader of Arun District Council
Dear Mr Wickens,
Thank you for getting in touch. I have been to view the site myself, and I thought that a reply had been sent already, so apologies for the delay.
As you say, the fence has been the subject of recent correspondence between Felpham Parish Council and Arun’s Chief Executive so I shall confine my response to those matters you have raised as outstanding in your email of 14 October.
There is no requirement for testing, accreditation or certification of railings or gates. As previously advised, the Council is satisfied that the gates that allow public access to the greensward are compliant with the relevant code regarding accessibility (including by wheelchairs).
The Council does not therefore agree with your statement that the fence does not conform with legislation, nor that the fence has not reduced fouling of the greensward. The observations made by officers, also reflected in correspondence received by the Council, is that the fencing has been effective at improving the fouling issue which it has been installed to address, as part of a package of measures which were detailed in earlier correspondence.
The position previously communicated to Felpham Parish Council that Arun does not intend to remove the fence, remains the case.
Dr James Walsh
Leader, Arun District Council